ACCEPT PLURALISM Swedish Launch Event
On the 23rd of September 2011 the Swedish team arranged a launch event in the Museum of Natural History close to Stockholm University. The conference was well attended (almost 100 participants).
The overall theme was "Has Sweden become less tolerant?".
Special focus was on muslim and roma groups in Sweden and the Sami population. The conference was introduced by vice chancelllor Anders Gustavsson from Stockholm University and the Accept pluralism project was introduced by professor Hans Ingvar Roth from the Department of Education at Stockholm University.
Keynote speakers were Minister Erik Ullenhag from the Ministry of Integration and party leader Lars Ohly from the left wing party and the opposition.
Erik Ullenhag expressed doubts concerning the talk of the death of multiculturalism among politicians such as Angela Merkel and David Cameron and wanted instead to present multiculturalism as a constructive vision for a multicultural society as long as it is firmly grounded on equal individual rights for all citizens. Lars Ohly from the opposition adressed problems of xenophobia and racism in the light of the murders of Breivik in Norway and stressed how important it is to combat extreme racism and intolerance through education and anti- discrimination strategies in all waks of social life.
The conference also included speakers with specific reference to the current and historical problems of the three mentioned minority groups. The author and human rights activist Hans Calderas talked about the problems of the Roma population in Sweden, Professor Lars Elenius from the department of history at Umeå University talked about the Sami people and other national minority groups in the North of Sweden such as Swedish finns. Professor Bertil Bengtsson from the faculty of Law at Uppsala University talked about the legal conficts that the Sami population has faced concerning land rights (and the overall discrimination and intolerance the members of group have faced in daily life). PhD Pia Karlsson from Stockholm and Bologna Universtiy (Department of Ethnology) talked about the situation of women in various muslim immigrant groups in Sweden and PhD Fredrik Hertzberg from the Department of Education at Stockholm Universiity gave an overview on the development of muslim faith schools in Sweden and the controversies these schools have raised in media and public debate. Associate professor Ali Osman from Ceifo, Stockholm University adressed the problems of intolerance and unemployment that immigrants from Somalia face in Sweden today. PhD Juan Velasques from Ceifo at Stockholm University ended the conference with remarks on political strategies in order to increase the participation of various minority groups in Swedish society